The acclaimed Sony WH-1000XM3 is an affordable, bass-heavy alternative
Originally a bridge between Sony’s Extra Bass series and the acclaimed Sony WH-1000XM3, the Sony WH-XB900N seeks to offer something more valuable to many types of users at a lower price than the over-priced WH-1000XM3. On paper, the Sony WH-XB900N has a lot to offer, including the extra omph below (a little more, which we’ll cover later), ANC, high-end codec support and much more, all at low prices! Sounds ideal, doesn’t it? Find out.
Construction and design
The build of the Sony WH-XB900N is particularly reminiscent of the Sony WH-1000XM3, especially the shape and styling, but you’ll ‘feel’ it more than ‘look’ because they feel a lot more plastic than the WH-1000XM3. When you slide these cans out of their boxes, you first notice that they are made of lightweight plastic weighing 254 grams, and when you put them on, you notice that the weight is evenly distributed across the headband. The large over-ear cups and the thick and plush memory foam at the bottom of the headband and the overall fit and comfort level are great. However, according to our experiments, the cup’s memory foam warms significantly during extended periods of use. This leads to the formation of sweat around the ear cups due to the lack of outlets for heat dissipation. However, if you listen to music for a relatively short period of time, you should not feel any discomfort.
The color of the memory foam is similar to the rest of the plastic, which gives the headphones a single-tone, clear look. The glossy embossed Sony logo is engraved on both sides of the headphones and the texture differs slightly from the overall matte texture of the headphones. The base vents hidden under the headband have a glossy black texture that intersects with the earpacks.
In our durability test the headphones are ridiculously flexible and almost completely straight as much as without the creek. These are fairly portable, as the earcups can rotate 90 degrees and bend at the hinges to achieve small footprints. As the headband expands, you’ll see a glossy stainless steel reinforcing band with plastic at the bottom that apparently acts as an aesthetic contrast.
The left earcup has a 3.5mm audio socket for the 3.5mm cable which means you can continue listening to music even if the juice of this can is dried (which will take a while, but more later). It has a USB-C charging port, a microphone, an NFC logo and two physical buttons – a power button and a customizable button. The customizable button can be assigned as an ANC profile moderator or to activate the voice assistant of your choice (Google Assistant, Siri or Alexa). On the right, above the earcup is another microphone and an embedded touch-sensitive panel.
Overall, the Sony WH-XB900N is extremely comfortable to wear, even in long-term use, due to the large over-ear cups, memory foam padding and a tried and tested design feature on the WH-1000XM3. They sport a vague and clean design that is not really meant to draw attention to itself. The headphones come with a cloth bag, which is not ideal for a hard case, a 3.5mm cable as well as a USB-C cable.
Sony WH-XB900N offers users the features of the WH-1000XM3 at a lower price. Let’s delve into the array of features and their functionality. First, the headphones are equipped with ANC (Active Noise Cancellation), however, the caliber of this technology is miles away from WH-1000XM3, which is much more advanced even though they use the same chip called Sony “HD Noise” processor QN1. “Isolation, when the ANC is running, is very frustrating, especially in the valley range which makes it unsuitable for commuting. In our experiments, we can hear clear rail noise, wind noise and road traffic during the day even when the ANC is running, which is clearly confusing, especially. When you’re trying to look out the window of a local train, listening to your favorite tracks, looking all thoughtful.
However, ANC functionality is completely different indoors because it works extremely well in the office environment. It completely covers the speech and background sounds in such an environment, which really provides an immersive experience. This suggests that the ANC works well to suppress mid-range and triple external sounds, such as our noisy editorial team voice.
Headphones are a companion app – Sony | Headphone Connect is available for Android and iOS users. The WH-XB900N app can access many features and customizations, including adaptive sound control, ambient sound control, an enabled EQ, sound position control and DSEE mode. Note: To access more granular equalizer controls in the app, you’ll need to switch back to SBC streaming.
We’ve tested ourselves on quite a few adaptive sound controls, the equivalent of the Jabra 85H’s ‘Moments’. Adaptive Sound Control basically detects your surroundings and actions using its microphone and AI capabilities to set an ambient mode for you. Modes include – stay, walk, run and transport. Ambient noise is elevated in walking mode and further ramped in running mode so that you are aware of your surroundings, while it moves to full ANC during transport and allows minimal ambient noise in steering mode. Using the app, you can change these settings to your liking. Personally, the reviewer has changed the stay mode from allowing minimal ambient sound, to no ambient sound.
The feature works quite well, it can detect staying (staying at home), walking and running very accurately. However, when it comes to transport, it is difficult to identify when we are on the train and switch between transport and walking irregularly which is very frustrating really fast, because there is an audible ‘beep’ that changes your music every time you switch ANC mode. Interrupts. . If you travel a lot, especially by train, it’s best to turn off adaptive sound control.
In addition, these cans have a feature called Quick Attention Mode, which is still our favorite feature on Sony WH-XB900N headphones. This is a common feature that allows you to focus on your surroundings by placing the palm of your hand in the cup of the right ear for a moment. Basically, it does this by minimizing ambient noise and minimizing media volume as long as you keep your hands on the touchpad. This is a very useful and intuitive feature, which makes you wonder why not everyone else has already implemented it because it is a gateway for quick conversations or even listening.
As for the touchpad, the touch-sensitive controls are highly responsive and easy to use. A double-tap music will pause / play or answer a call, swiping up or down will control the volume, and swiping left or right will avoid it and go back to the previous track. Simple and intuitive, just how we like it.
Additionally, Sony has added support for Bluetooth codecs such as SBC, AAC, aptX, aptX HD, and LDAC that will thrill audiofiles. There are NFCOs for quick pairing that involve simply tapping your device into the ear cups of the headphones. Unfortunately, Sony has replaced the industry-standard Bluetooth 5.0 with Bluetooth version 4.2, which is also found in headphones at a lower price than the WH-XB900N.
To be true with the headphone model name ‘XB’ Monica, the Sony WH-XB900N is ridiculously base-heavy. Yeah Al that sounds pretty crap to me, Looks like Bits fans aint for me either. Sony uses custom electro base boosters that modify logos to provide powerful, deep and sounding buses. However, in this case, we found the alloy layers to be quite shaky and sometimes unpleasant.
The sound quality of these headphones that use 40mm moving drivers tends to lean more strongly towards a warm sound signature and because of this the mid and vocals are effectively recessed. While bass lovers can enjoy the actual physical thumps produced by these headphones, especially on high volume, audiofiles or even casual listeners may find this booming profile a bit more muddy.
The bass is highly emphasized which brings extra thump and rumble to almost every genre of music, even those that are not for its features. Such tracks are clearly indicated Another bites the dust By The queen And Mark Ronson And Bruno Mars Uptown Funk. The subtle details of the non-base device are removed in the background because it makes it very one-dimensional, which is not a great thing.
In the case of mid-range performance, it is quite decent and even fairly balanced, but as mentioned above, the mid-range instrument and male vocals become thinner due to excessive digging. The altitude is not very pleasant and the response in this frequency range is quite uneven. You can witness it Serotonia By Extremely suspicious, Especially at the 2.38 mark. The height tends to be sharp at times, and the overall range of headphones lacks detail and brightness, which is disappointing, since the WH-1000XM3 is one of the best sound headphones, if not the best, wireless headphone segment.
The soundstage is just as decent as you might expect from wireless headphones, there’s not much here. While examining the sound leak, we found it to be decent, recording about 45dB leakage which is not too bad.
Overall these headphones are for audio performance and for genres like EDM, pop and hip-hop as a whole for base-heads. If you hear a lot of rock and metal, stay away from these and consider Jabra 85H or invest some more and get Bose QC 35 II or Sony WH-1000XM3.
In terms of battery life, these headphones are like charging and forgetting once. The company rated the battery 30 hours with ANC and 38 hours without. There’s also a Quick Charge feature that lets you listen for an hour within 10 minutes of charging, which is clear. In our tests, the battery of this can lasted 29 hours and the ANC was running about two-thirds of that time, which is still very good. The headphones take about 4 and a half hours to charge from almost empty, which is a bit slower than expected but nothing controllable.
Despite having only Bluetooth 4.2 instead of 5.0, these headphones have great wireless range and connection stability. We did not feel any random lag, stuttering or dropout while listening to the audio. Also, the headphones are rated in the 30-foot wireless range, however, we’ve experienced a much higher dropout than that, around 40-45 feet, which is commendable.
It’s a great experience to see the media in these cans, without which more sophisticated users will be able to feel some delay between image and audio. The latency of the headphones is around 200ms, however, with aptX or aptX HD enabled, it gets much better. However, we recommend using 3.5mm wire when using media for a more seamless experience.
The last row
The Sony WH-XB900N is an affordable alternative to the more expensive Sony WH-1000XM3, and it compromises the audio quality according to our tests. The sound signature, although it may be ideal for bass-heads, is somewhat too bas-y and muddy for the average consumer and especially the audiofile. The headphones offer features like support for high-end codecs, touch-sensitive control pads, adaptive sound control, ANC and much more. However, the isolation in ANC mode is frustrating and does not match competitors such as Jabra 85H and Bose QC 35 II. Headphones, however, are extremely comfortable, but they are a bit warmer as a result of prolonged use. These are suitable for base-heavy genres like EDM, hip-hop and pop. If you want a pair of wireless headphones that focus too much on the booming base, this might be the can for you.